It rained for all but the last day on our visit to Medellin in Colombia. We started the week by waiting it out, but soon gave in, braving the downpour to witness this rasping, rough and tumble city, a city that saw the downfall of “Cocaine King” Pablo Escobar.
Our mapped route to the subway directed us around crumbling apartment blocks, under bridges and between crowds of disorderly football fans. Twitching addicts badgered us for money, street stalls sold singular cigarettes, and prostitutes sought shelter in barbershop doorways, shivering and under-dressed. Perhaps this is what you picture when you hear the word Colombia, but it’s just one side to this extraordinary multifaceted country
Most days I loved Colombia, I loved the beaches, the food, the colourful towns. On this day we retreated inside for rich, bitter coffee.
We dragged out the coffee for another thirty minutes before we embraced the weather and travelled further into the city using the very modern metro, from which we saw the whole of Medellin for about a $1.
We sought out Fernando Botero’s comical bronze statues; larger than life and looking lonely in the rain, but we enjoyed this aloneness without the other tourists as we wandered and wondered about the art.
On our final day in the city, the weather cleared up and the universe conspired to show us Medellin at its finest, or maybe we just got lucky.
We took the metro up into the hills, where it merged into a cable car that hauled us, humbled and appalled, over the one of the poorest areas of the city. Eventually, all of Medellin melted away behind us and we landed in park Arvi. We hiked for an hour, before sitting in the shade with a sandwich, of what sort I don’t know, I only remember now that it was delicious.
All in all, I liked Medellin; reliable public transport, huge parks, modern museums, and just enough grit to give the city a touch of character. Medellin is on its way to become one of the great cities of the world.
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